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flu season

Getting your flu shot is like putting on armor to battle the flu bug. It also makes you a hero to others, because a flu shot protects them, too!

Who should get a flu shot

Many people do not realize that the flu – short for "influenza virus" – is a dangerous disease that kills thousands of people each year. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine annually. It's especially important that people get vaccinated who are at high risk of having serious flu–related complications, including:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • Children under 5 years old
  • People 50 years old and older
  • People with weakened or malfunctioning immune systems
  • People with certain chronic medical conditions, such as:
    • Chronic lung disease (e.g., asthma, cystic fibrosis, and COPD)
    • Diabetes (both types 1 and 2)
    • Heart disease
    • Some neurologic conditions
    • And some other chronic health conditions
  • People who live in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes

Flu-prone work environments

It is equally important to be vaccinated if you live with or care for others who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications. This includes:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
  • Meningococcal (meningitis protection), booster around age 16
  • MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia protection)
  • Td (tetanus and diphtheria protection), once every 10 years
  • Varicella (chickenpox protection)

When to get the flu shot

The current flu shot offers protection from the four most common strains of the influenza virus expected during this year's flu season. The earlier you get your flu shot, the more time you give your body to build up defenses against these strains.

Where to get the flu shot

So be a hero, and stop by your FOH Health Center, healthcare provider, or community center for a flu shot. With one quick visit, you can shield yourself and your loved ones from a serious disease.

TEST YOUR FLU IQ

Go ahead — give it a shot
 

1) When does the flu season begin in the United States?






IT VARIES

The timing for flu activity in the United States can be very unpredictable. It commonly peaks in January or February, but flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. That's why it is good to get your flu shot before the season starts, so that your body can build up immunity.

2) How often should you get a flu shot?





EVERY YEAR

Because the flu virus changes most years, you have to get a flu vaccine each year.

3) "If I have a fever, I probably have a cold instead of the flu."



FALSE

While not everyone who has the flu will have a fever, it is common to feel feverish with the flu. Along with fever, people with the flu generally have a combination of body aches, extreme tiredness, headaches, and a dry cough, among other symptoms. You may experience some or all of the symptoms. The symptoms of the flu also tend to be more severe than those of a cold. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider if they become severe.

4) Which of the following strains of influenza are covered by the vaccine this year?





TWO INFLUENZA A AND TWO INFLUENZA B VIRUSES

Flu vaccines are formulated to protect against the anticipated viruses for a given year. In the past, the flu shot protected against three different virus strains (trivalent vaccine). This included two A viruses and one B virus. Now, there is an even broader spectrum of protection with a quadrivalent shot that covers two A viruses and two B viruses. Getting the flu shot early enough (before exposure to the wild version of the virus) will protect you from four flu virus strains. And, if you encounter a mutation of one of the strains, your symptoms may be less severe thanks to the immune system response triggered by the vaccine.

5) You still need the flu shot even though you are not at risk for having complications from the flu.



TRUE

Getting a flu shot is a good idea, even if you are not at risk, because the shot not only protects you, it also protects your loved ones, especially if you provide care, live, or work with someone who may be vulnerable to complications from the flu virus.

6) Who among the following groups are at risk for complications from the flu?






ALL OF THE ABOVE

It is important for everyone to get the vaccine; it protects those who are most vulnerable. Some populations that are at high risk from flu complications include:

  • Chronic lung disease (e.g., asthma and COPD)
  • Diabetes (both types 1 and 2)
  • Heart disease
  • Some neurologic conditions

7) During a regular flu season the most deaths from flu usually occur in which population?






PEOPLE 65 YEARS AND OLDER

While the other populations are at risk during a regular flu season, according to the CDC, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older.

8) You should speak with your health care provider before you get a flu vaccine if you are allergic to:





EGGS

Serious allergic reactions to egg proteins, including severe anaphylactic reactions, are usually considered to be a reason to not receive the influenza vaccine. The influenza vaccine is produced in embryonated eggs, so it can sometimes cause a reaction in people with allergies to egg protein. Speak with your health care provider to see if he or she can offer you an alternative to the shot.

9) "If I do not get my flu shot before December, I shouldn't bother to get it at all."



FALSE

While it's ideal to get your flu shot around October or November, it is still helpful to get the vaccine anytime before flu season comes to your area. You want to plan ahead, though, so that your body has enough time to react to the vaccine to make it effective. It's been estimated that this takes about two weeks.

10) If I'm feeling flu-like symptoms, I should stay home.



TRUE

If you feel flu-like symptoms, avoid contact and exposure with others as much as possible. This can help keep the virus from spreading. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone if you are feeling flu-like symptoms with fever. Only go out for medical appointments and for necessities.

RESULTS

If you got 1-4 questions correct, you are buggin' out.

You may want to check out some of our resources below to read up some more on the flu.

If you got 5-7 questions correct, you're a little buggy, but you're doing well.

You're almost there.

If you got 8-9 questions correct, you have only a few bugs left to work out.

You've got most of the knowledge you need to protect you and your loved ones from the flu.

If you got 10 questions correct, you're bug free and ready for the new flu season.

Now, challenge a friend to see how well their flu knowledge measures up.